THE PROFESSIONAL AND INDUSTRIAL VOICE OF QUEENSLAND’S TEACHERS AND SCHOOL LEADERS IN STATE SCHOOLS AND TAFE FOR MORE THAN 130 YEARS.

29 March 2021 - Copy of message from the DG

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1:33 pm, Monday 29 March 2021

Dear colleagues

Many of you would now be aware of a number of locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the Greater Brisbane area.

As a result, the Premier has today announced that Greater Brisbane will be entering a 3-day lockdown, from 5 pm tonight until 5 pm Thursday 1 April for residents in the local government areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Moreton, Logan and Redlands.

Anyone who has been in these local government areas since Saturday 20 March is required to stay at home except for the reasons listed below (as school staff are considered essential workers, please see further detail below about Greater Brisbane school staff). This includes people who have travelled to these areas from other locations.

Residents in these local government areas can only leave home for the following reasons:
  • shopping for essentials, food and necessary supplies
  • medical or healthcare needs, including compassionate requirements
  • exercise with no more than one other person, unless all from the same household
  • providing care or assistance to an immediate family member
  • work, or volunteering, or study if it is not reasonably practicable to work or learn remotely
  • child custody arrangements
  • legal obligations
  • visit for end of life
  • attend funeral or wedding in line with restrictions
  • emergency situations, to escape harm
  • exemption from the Chief Health Officer.
The Queensland Health website has up-to-date information on the 3-day lockdown, including all restrictions, maps of affected areas and frequently asked questions.

School closures and staff attendance

Schools and childcare centres will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of essential workers. School staff who live and work in the Greater Brisbane area are to attend school during the lockdown to plan lessons for Term 2 or supervise children of essential workers or vulnerable children.

There is no requirement for schools to provide online learning during this 3-day lockdown.

School staff who live in the Greater Brisbane area but work outside any of the listed local government areas are to work from home during the lockdown. Working from home also applies to school staff who live outside the Greater Brisbane area but work in any of the listed local government areas. 

Where pre-arranged teacher and teacher aide casual bookings have been confirmed, schools are required to honour these arrangements to ensure continuity and supervision for children of essential workers.

Essential workers are those that must currently continue to attend their workplace. Supervision will be provided at schools for children of these workers, where required, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Schools with Outside School Hours Care will care for students of essential workers and vulnerable children.

Masks

Residents of the locked down areas must wear masks indoors, except at home, including in ride shares, on public transport and in workplaces.

For the rest of Queensland, masks should be worn while indoors, except at home. 

The protocols surrounding mask wearing at schools have not changed, therefore, staff are not required to wear masks when with students but should consider wearing masks in places where adults gather, for instance in staffrooms, if they cannot socially distance.

Roll marking during Greater Brisbane school closures (30 March to 1 April 2021)

For the closure days (30 March to 1 April 2021), schools in Greater Brisbane should record student absences using the reason code ‘B – Attendance not required’. 

This can be done in bulk – refer to OneSchool Help Materials under the heading ‘Absence’.

The attendance of vulnerable children and children of essential workers at school during this time should be recorded in OneSchool, with same day notification to occur if a child who was expected to attend has not arrived.

For further information, contact your local regional office.

Senior assessment

Schools impacted by the announced 3-day lockdown have the discretion to change the date of any internal assessment that has been scheduled for this week.

If an internal assessment is scheduled over the next 3 days and schools believe it would be detrimental to students to move this assessment, it can proceed as planned, with students attending school for the purpose of the assessment.

Leave entitlements

The Leave Guide during a health pandemic is up-to-date and advises the applicable leave types for this scenario.

We remind staff that it is important to:
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, get tested
  • Stay 1.5 metres away from other people – think two big steps
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or hand sanitiser
  • Leave the location if it is crowded.
General health advice and contact tracing

If you are unwell or develop any COVID-19 symptoms at all, please get tested immediately.

Please continue to monitor the Queensland Health website for affected locations. If you have been to any of the listed locations you should refer to the online self-assessment, get tested, isolate immediately. and contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) if you have any questions.

Queensland Health continues to update health advice and it is available on the Queensland Health website.

Health and wellbeing

The threat posed by COVID-19 may cause anxiety among our staff and their families. All staff are reminded to look after themselves and others. It is important to make sure you access information from credible sources, and maintain a practical and calm approach at work and at home. Resources are available on our Looking after yourself during COVID-19 page.

Free confidential telephone counselling services are available for you or your immediate family members for work or non-work related issues. Contact LifeWorks 24/7 on 1800 604 640, the department's external Employee Assistance provider.

Letters for school community

Principals of schools in the Greater Brisbane area are asked to send the attached letter to their parents, careers and school community.

I will continue to update you on any further developments as they arise.

Regards
Tony Cook
Director-General
Department of Education
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